People tend to stereotype drug and alcohol abusers as the opposite of high level professionals - usually unable to function effectively in society and having poor priorities. Addiction doesn’t discriminate, it reaches out to everyone. Regardless of your profession, economic or social status, location, age, etc., addiction is a choice and reality for many people. Even professionals.
Substance abuse and addiction can be challenging to understand for many people. Why people do drugs, why they choose particular drugs, and why some users seem more addicted than others? These are questions people often wonder. And truthfully, everyone has a story. While everyone’s is different, there can be similarities and patterns as well. A group of researchers were curious themselves. They wanted to know if there were any connections between addiction and gender. They performed a study that looked into the prevalence and drug choice between men and women. Results also showed patterns related to age as well.
HOW IS COCAINE USED?
Cocaine is a known common drug that still continues to be abused. When we think of cocaine, most people immediately visualize a skinny white line of powder on a flat surface, along with a straw and a sharp edged object for straightening the line. Then we’ll think of a user closing one nostril with their finger while using the straw to snort the entire line up the other nostril. Then maybe they’ll rub the rest of the powder on their gums. This is the most common way cocaine is used.
WHAT IS POLYDRUG USE?
What’s worse than abusing drugs to get high? The answer to that question is called Polydrug Use. What is polydrug use to begin with and how is it worse? Drugs are damaging to our health and livelihood as it is, but abusing a combination of substances to get high is worse than using the drug itself. Polydrug use is exactly that: using a combination of more than one substance, including alcohol, medication, and/or illegal drugs. When mixing different substances, a user’s risk is increased. Not only because they’re doing twice as much, but some substances have dangerous interactions with one another. People want their high to be taken to another level. While this is more dangerous and putting a use at higher risk of overdose, many people doing this don’t care if they wake up another day.
Heroin is one of the world’s most addictive drugs, but what do we really know about it? Here are some facts not many people know about the familiar drug.
WHAT IS HEROIN ANYWAY?
As children grow, they witness and learn about life around. As they gather information of the world they live in, they develop coping abilities. While this is all based on their direct experience of their environment and those within it, they’re creating an internal map of how the world works. If trauma is thrown into the mix for a child, that’s going to influence that internal map which interprets the bigger picture. This is how childhood trauma can still affect us as adults.
WHAT IS PTSD?
Many people who experience co-occurring disorders struggle with a combination of addiction and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Unfortunately, PTSD is fairly common. In the United States alone, it’s estimated about 7.7 million American adults are affected by PTSD. Without proper treatment and healing, a person’s risk for addiction is increasingly higher than other adults. This is why it’s vital to identify and treat PTSD properly before people start self medicating. Let’s answer the question, what is PTSD?
Not a lot of people are familiar with dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorders. So when someone finds out their loved one is struggling it, it can be rather challenging to wrap their head around it. Not only are they learning about one thing, but their learning about two simultaneously! And how they interact or influence the other! So what does someone do when they get this kind of news? What’s the best way to approach and handle it, to be the best support for a loved one?
Helping someone recover from addiction is tough. It’s especially challenging when they’re struggling with a co-occurring disorder in addition. While the focus is mainly on helping an individual regain control of their life and get healthy, we can’t forget their loved ones. Dual diagnosis doesn’t only affect the individual, it greatly affects their friends and family as well. It can be hard for struggling individuals to see their lives and actions clearly, but surrounding sober loved ones see and feel it all. On top of that, they know, a lot of the time, the person isn’t their true self.
Imagine being in a good mood all the time, getting a more restful sleep, holding your attention longer, and retaining your focus. Isn’t that the dream? We would feel great, get more done, and live happier productive lives. You can make your dreams come true and turn this into reality. Believe it or not, all you have to do is change your diet. Our diet has an affect on our mental health and wellbeing. It can either pick us up or bring us down. Here’s some simple changes and suggestions to live a healthier life at an optimum level.
While sugar makes everything tastes amazing, it’s the culprit for many issues. Not only physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. We’re aware of the health risks that too much sugar can increase, like obesity and type 2 diabetes, but we don’t always acknowledge the effects it has on mental health. Yet we all feel its effects casting a spell on us, that’s for sure. Maybe we don’t notice those feelings or relate them to sugar.
The U.S. is struggling with its fight against the rise of opiate addiction and overdose. Abuse of heroin continues to be an issue, but the silent damage is being done by the misuse of prescription opioids: painkillers. Between 1999-2015, over 180,000 people have died from opioid overdoses. And over 1,000 people are admitted to emergency rooms daily for opioid related accidents or side effects. This is an unfortunate challenge that our country is faced because not only are we dealing with illicit drugs, but medically legal drugs as well.
Not many people are familiar with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), but 1% of the population suffers from it. This is another common co-occurring disorder seen paired with addiction to drugs or alcohol. Just like all other dual diagnoses, we can’t just treat addiction and abstain from substances. We need to take care of the mental health related component as well. In this case, Borderline Personality Disorder.
COMBINING BIPOLAR AND ADDICTION
Individuals living with bipolar disorder have an increased risk of abusing drugs and alcohol, especially those who experience extreme shifts in mood. However, bipolar disorder isn’t just about mood swings - it dramatically affects a person’s emotional state, cognitive functioning, judgement, and behavior. A person experiencing extreme fluctuations in mood and energy levels is more willing to take anything to get rid of their discomfort. According to The National Alliance on Mental Health, 56 percent of people with bipolar disorder have a history of illicit drug abuse, while 44 percent have abused or are dependent on alcohol. The combination of severe bipolar disorder and addiction increases the risk of negative and unhealthy outcomes.
Addiction is not an easy battle to fight. For some, it seems nearly impossible to recover. Unfortunately, they might be right; there could be a deeper reason for that struggle. There’s a chance someone could be dealing with co-occurring disorders and not even know it. Not many people are familiar with it to begin with. So what are co-occurring disorders?
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that can be diagnosed by a mental health professional. When someone has schizophrenia they might show symptoms of:
Let’s start by defining what all of these different symptoms are.
Delusions are strongly held false beliefs. People with schizophrenia often cannot be dissuaded of these delusions no matter how much evidence is presented to them. These false beliefs often center around different themes. The most common themes for delusions are persecution, grandiosity, jealousy, erotomania, and somatic. Delusions of persecution happen when the person thinks that other people are conspiring against them. An example of a grandiose delusion would be someone who thinks they are god. Delusions of jealousy often show up as people thinking their partner is cheating on them. Erotomanic delusions can be when someone thinks a celebrity is in love with them. Finally, an example of a somatic delusion could be someone thinking that there is a tapeworm living inside their body.
Hallucinations happen when someone perceives something that is not actually there. Just like with delusions, there are different types of hallucinations. These might include auditory hallucinations, visual hallucinations, or somatic hallucinations. That is hearing things, seeing things, or feeling things that are not actually there. Although all types of hallucinations have been documented in schizophrenia by far the most common are auditory hallucinations.
Disorganized speech and behavior are when someone acts and talks in a very strange way. This might show up as someone speaking in a way that seems to go off on tangents without ever making a point. Disorganized behavior can show up in a few different ways. It might be that a person with the disorder is unable to properly shower or feed themself. It could also be that their emotional responses seem inappropriate for the situation.
Negative symptoms are the absence of something you would expect in someone who does not have the disorder. This might be a little confusing, but negative symptoms are something that seems to be missing. There are many examples of this, such as showing no emotions, not moving or speaking, and no or little interest in other people.
It is important to note that in order for someone to be diagnosed with schizophrenia they must have symptoms that last for at least 6 months. Also, the symptoms must significantly impact someone’s functioning.
In past versions of The Diagnostic Statistics Manual (DSM) there were different subtypes of schizophrenia. These subtypes mostly had to do with which symptoms were predominant. For example there was a subtype called paranoid schizophrenia for people who were mostly experiencing paranoid delusions.
The newest version of the DSM, the DSM-5, no longer has these subtypes. Instead it leaves the option for clinicians to give other specifiers. These include specifying if this is the first episode, if symptoms are in remission, if the person is currently having an episode (meaning they are showing symptoms), if the person has catatonic symptoms, and how severe the symptoms are.
According to the DSM-5, roughly 0.3% - 0.7% of people are diagnosed with schizophrenia at some point during their lifetime. There is some evidence to suggest that schizophrenia associated with poorer outcomes is more common in males. However, when you look at presentations that have better outcomes the disorder seems to be equally likely to occur in both sexes.
Delusions and hallucinations often emerge between the late teen years or mid 30s. It is very rare for people to start to show these symptoms before adolescents. The most common age of onset is in the mid 20s for males and late 20s for females.
There is some evidence to suggest that there is a higher risk of schizophrenia for children who grew up in urban environments. Belonging to some minority groups has also been linked to higher rates of schizophrenia. These are considered environmental risk factors.
There are also some genetic factors that have been linked to schizophrenia. As of right now there is not one gene that indicates a higher risk for the disorder. Rather, researchers have identified clusters of genes that might be associated with a higher risk for developing schizophrenia.
There also seems to be some increased risk of developing the disorder for people who had parents with a number of different issues. For example, older paternal age might be a risk factor. Also maternal stress, infection, malnutrition, or diabetes have been indicated as risk factors. It is important to note that the vast majority of people with these risk factors do not develop the disorder.
Risk of Suicide
Roughly 5% - 6% of people with schizophrenia die as a result of suicide. Additionally, about 20% of people with the disorder attempt suicide one or more times in their lifetime. The risk of suicide is especially high or young males who also have a co-occurring substance use disorder.
There are a number of schizophrenia therapy options. This might include psychotherapy, drug therapy, or case management. Although most treatment for this disorder often centers around medication, psychotherapy and case management can be integral parts of the recovery process. Within psychotherapy there are a number of different therapy techniques that might be helpful.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) often centers around helping people rework cognitions and change behavior. This can be a particular challenge because people with schizophrenia often have delusions. Delusions are false cognitions. Generally, we do not want to reality test or challenge someone’s delusions. However, CBT asks people to rethink false cognitions. So how does this work?
Instead of outright challenging someone's thinking they might test the boundaries of the delusion. A therapist might start to test if there is any flexibility around the delusion and if there is they will start there. If there is some wiggle room they can see if someone can start to question the delusion they have. If there is little or no wiggle room they might instead work on cognitions that can be changed and on behavioral strategies.
CBT therapists might address other cognitions that might be more flexible, like negative perceptions about the disorder. They might work with someone to reframe their diagnosis. This means helping someone see how schizophrenia might make them unique or interesting rather than broken or damaged.
Humanistic Therapy can also be helpful for people who have a schizophrenia diagnosis. This type of therapy centers around positive regard and validation. In other words, making the client feel like they are heard and their feelings are valid. Sometimes people with schizophrenia feel like they are brushed aside or not taken seriously because of their disorder. Having a therapist who meets you with empathy and compassion can be exactly what is needed.
There is some debate among humanistic therapists about whether or not to validate delusions. In the past, this type of therapy has emphasized that someone’s feelings are valid and real without going along with the delusions they might be having. However, there are more clinicians recently who have decided to meet the client where they are. This might mean stepping into their world and going along with delusions. Either way, the point is to make someone feel like their feelings matter.
Psychoeducation is a technique that helps educate people about brain chemistry, symptoms, and the usual course of the disorder. This technique can be helpful both for the person with the disorder and family members. Often, learning more about a diagnosis can help people accept and understand it. Psychoeducation can benefit everyone involved by helping them see this is a disorder and not something the person can control or change on their own.
There are many medications that have been approved by the FDA to treat schizophrenia. Generally the types of drugs that are prescribed are antipsychotic medications. These seem to help curb delusions and hallucinations. There are two main types of antipsychotic medications, first-generation and second-generation.
First-generation antipsychotic medications are generally high-potency. They are very effective at reducing symptoms but people taking them may experience many unpleasant side effects. Here is a list of first-generation antipsychotic medications with the brand name and the generic name:
Second-generation antipsychotic medications were developed to help alleviate the negative symptoms of schizophrenia. These drugs were also formulated to have less side effects than their first-generation counterparts. Second-generation medications help with positive symptoms such as delusions and hallucinations but they are not always effective as first-generations medications. Here is a list of second-generation antipsychotic medications with the brand name and the generic name:
It is important to consult with a doctor when you are considering taking medication for any mental health disorder. Additionally, it is imperative to talk to a doctor before stopping or changing any medication.
Treatment centers for schizophrenia will usually use an integrated approach of psychotherapy, drug treatment, and case management. Offering all of these approaches in conjunction with one another can offer the most support possible to the affected person. Many treatment centers will also offer family programming that includes psychoeducation.
Schizophrenia is considered a long-term disorder that requires long-term care. This care might start with inpatient treatment in order to help stabilize the individual. Once they are stabilized they might be moved to a step down program like a community living facility or intensive outpatient program. Providing this type of continued care offers people the best opportunity for recovery.
Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder that affects nearly 6 million Americans every year. Defined as a mood disorder that is characterized by extreme changes in mood, thought, behavior, and energy level, it’s also commonly referred to as “manic depression.” This disorder usually starts in late adolescence and early adulthood beginning as subtle periods of depression and mania that gradually intensifies into the disorder. The illness is found in all ages, races, ethnicities and genders, as well as having been found to have a genetic link among families. Bipolar can affect the relationship between family members, coworkers, friends, significant others, and even neighbors, depending on the severity of the illness. Bipolar treatment centers offer individuals who are suffering from bipolar disorder a chance to stabilize through medication management, therapy, exercise, as well as various holistic and wellness approaches. The illness is described as having periods or “poles” of mania and periods of depression, lasting anywhere from days to weeks or months. The severity of the mood and the intensity of these periods are significantly different than clinical depression, as the disruption that they cause on the sufferer’s life can be sometimes devastating.
The symptoms of mania experienced by those with bipolar include:
Racing speech, racing thoughts, and/or rapid ideas
Impulsivity, poor judgment, distractedness
A decreased need for sleep or food with little or no effect on energy levels
Irritability and aggressive behavior
Heightened mood or exaggerated optimism
Hallucinations and delusions
While mania can sometimes last for as long as several months if left untreated, it is usually followed by a period of depression, commonly referred to as a “crash.” Much like drugs and alcohol, the euphoria of mania can be followed with great consequences depending on the severity of the symptoms as well as the behavior exhibited while in a manic episode.
The symptoms of Depression in Bipolar Disorder are:
Irritability, worry, anxiety, agitation, and anger
Changes in sleep patterns and appetite
Loss of energy
Feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness
Difficulty concentrating or making a decision
Loss of pleasure in former interests
Isolation and withdrawal from friends and families
Giving up on projects or hobbies
Thoughts of death or suicidal ideation
There are two major types of bipolar disorder, the first being classified as having depressive periods as well as mania. The second, or bipolar II, is classified as having periods of “hypomania,” which is a period of elevated mood that doesn’t reach full mania. In many cases, those who are affected by bipolar will usually admit themselves to an inpatient bipolar treatment center, or an outpatient center. There are several types of rehab for bipolar, and finding the right center can be difficult.
Rehab centers for Bipolar usually offer medication management, therapy sessions both individually and in a group setting with a licensed therapist, psychiatry appointments, caseworker or social worker meetings on a weekly basis, as well as holistic and wellness options depending on the center that’s chosen. Medication management is an important component of treatment, as the right medication can make a world of a difference in the severity and frequency of changes in mood. Many bipolar treatment centers are anywhere from a month to several, depending on the progress made in treatment. Family members are encouraged to participate in group therapy sessions as well as in other areas, as permitted by their loved one.
Although with the Internet today self-diagnoses are becoming increasingly common, only a physician or psychiatrist should make a diagnosis as to whether or not you’re suffering from this disorder. If you’ve noticed any of the symptoms above or a loved one has noticed the symptoms above, it’s important to talk to your doctor to see if you need qualified mental health treatment. Usually in periods of depression, people suffering from bipolar turn to their therapists or psychiatrists for help.
If you’ve newly been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, or you’ve been struggling to find the right combination or medication that works for you, then treatment is a step in a positive direction. Inpatient bipolar rehabs aren’t hospitalized settings. They’re community living situations, with amenities and tools to ensure comfort as well as success. The idea of treatment is to allow you to live in a setting as close to how you normally would, so that when you’ve completed the program, you’ll be able to adjust back into your regular routine. The misconception about treatment for mental illnesses is that they’re hospital settings made famous in movies and television. Although those places do exist, they’re usually only reserved for extreme cases or for those without the resources to attend an inpatient program.
Bipolar disorder is a treatable mental illness, and can easily be managed with medications, therapy, diet, exercise, proper sleep schedules, as well as through meditation and mindfulness. Although being diagnosed may seem scary at first, people with bipolar are often among the most creative types of people. Nearly six million Americans are diagnosed with having bipolar disorder every year. You’re not alone, and there’s no need to suffer if you or a loved one has been diagnosed. Talking to your therapist or doctor about different treatment options is the first step in receiving proper treatment. Talking to your family and loved ones about different options is especially important, as support in your journey can go a long way. Making the decision to get help is just the first step, as this mood disorder is a lifelong illness.
The difference between suffering from a mental illness and living with one is deciding to get treatment. Medication is an extremely important piece to recovery, as well as therapy and emotional support and connection. Bipolar does not discriminate between race, culture, gender, or age.
If you or someone you know has been having thoughts of suicide, or harming themselves or someone else, please dial 9-1-1 immediately, and call your psychiatrist or doctor. Help is available, and is only one step away.
The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that depression directly effected almost 7% of people in the United States in the last year. That is, over sixteen million people experienced a major depressive episode, many of whom have faced depression before in their lives. Unfortunately, depression is more common than most people realize. The good news is that because of the prevalence of major depressive episodes, the medical and psychological communities are working hard to develop new treatments to help those that are suffering.
Depression, or major depressive disorder, is a mental disorder that causes a variety of symptoms. The DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) lists many symptoms of depression, including depressed mood, a lack of pleasure-taking in normally pleasurable activities, weight loss, insomnia or hypersomnia regularly, fatigue, feelings of worthlessness, inability to concentrate, and more. Major depressive disorder often gets in the way of daily life, preventing the person from participating fully in activities such as work, school, social engagements, and self-care.
It’s not clear if there is one single cause for depression. When we experience major depressive episodes we may feel like it’s our fault, but there are many factors at play. There is evidence to suggest that genetics play a strong role in major depressive disorder, hormones may effect the release of chemicals in the brain, and neurotransmitters function differently in those with depression. Depression may be triggered by a life event such as pregnancy, grief, job loss, stress, illness, or any number of experiences.
Symptoms of Depression:
Many people don’t realize just how serious depression can be. If you or a loved one is experiencing major depression, you know that it can be debilitating and difficult. Although many people recover with the help of therapy, medication, and/or support groups, depression can be tough to treat. Because of this, inpatient rehab for depression exists. At a reputable treatment center, you will receive care and attention that meets your specific needs.
The benefit of going to a treatment center that specializes in treating major depressive disorder is that you will be met with understanding and knowledge. Many treatment centers are not able to fully address major depressive disorder, as they may focus on drug abuse, process addiction, or other disorders. Although depression may absolutely occur in conjunction with substance abuse or other disorders, it's important to seek treatment that truly treats the depression. Without proper help, depression can be overwhelming and difficult to overcome. With high-quality care, those suffering from depression can recover, grow, and continue with the lives they are capable of living!
Crownview Co-Occurring Institute is a leader in treating those suffering from major depressive disorder. With decades of experience, knowledgeable and compassionate staff, and a beautiful location in Southern California, we have made it our mission to help those that come through our doors with the best level of care available. We will work with you to meet your individual needs, find a path to recovery that works, and overcome the depression with support and care. Crownview is not just another addiction treatment center that says they can help with depression; we are here specifically to work with those suffering from depression and mental health disorders. The Crownview Co-Ocurring Institute is a big family of compassionate individuals all seeking to grow.
Expressing one’s own feelings and emotions might not be as easy for some people; especially, if they’ve experienced significant trauma. Some people are embarrassed to share those thoughts and moments, or worry about being judged. Others might not want to revisit those memories or feelings, therefore avoiding it and keeping it to themselves. Bottling things up isn’t the healthy route we might think it is. Avoiding isn’t the same as coping. No one wants to feel pain, that’s understandable; however, we need to allow ourselves to heal.
Yoga is known to be good for the mind and body, keeping us centered and feeling rejuvenated. However, did you know this ancient practice could also help with recovering from addiction? This makes sense when you think about addiction as a way to self medicate the mind and its harmful effects on the body. By committing to a practice that supports the mind and body, addiction can slowly start taking a backseat. A satisfied, healthy mind and body won’t depend so strongly on addiction. This is always easier said than done, but with dedication to one’s health and wellness, it will make the road to recovery so much smoother and help to prevent relapse.